Home Buyers

Home Buyers, Home Tips

Rent To Own Vs Buying

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A lot of buyers have heard of a land contract or more commonly referred to as a “rent to own” when they’re thinking about buying.

So, let’s dive a bit deeper into what is a “rent to own” purchase option and how does it differ from purchasing a home outright.

A land contract or rent to own purchase option is a contract between a seller and buyer that essentially outlines a purchase plan with X number of payments at $X rate per month.

An easy way to think of a rent to own contract is a vehicle lease. A car dealership will lease a vehicle to a buyer if they make their payments, they can use the car and those payments are accumulating and being applied toward the purchase price. At the end of the lease, the buyer can buy the vehicle outright, lease another or finance the remaining portion.

Rent to own contracts are very similar. They establish a plan for the buyer to make payments that are applied or deducted from the purchase price. The main difference is there is not a lender or bank in the equation, the seller is assuming that role and risk. Sellers know that and often factor that risk into the monthly cost.

From the seller perspective, they may not be willing to take on that risk. That is why many sellers prefer to sell outright to receive their funds in full without receiving monthly payments and potentially having legal concerns arise years down the road.

Rent to own purchase options may seem more attractive to some because they don’t have the lender piece in the puzzle with “stricter” guidelines for acquiring a loan. That may be appealing to buyers with lower credit or little to no down payment saved up. The buyer may still have a good income and can support a monthly payment, but are not able to get a loan from a lender or bank.

The concern arises if you cannot make your monthly payments to the seller, the contracts are often written in a way that allows for the seller to recoup their property, leaving the buyer in a “rental-like” situation, making payments for years but not gaining equity in ownership. All land contracts vary, but it’s highly recommended to have a real estate lawyer draft and review a land contract prior to signing.

One of the first steps in buying a home is figuring out the financial piece. What can you afford? Can you obtain a pre-approval and loan at this time? Are there a few steps you can take over a few months to improve your credit?

If the finances aren’t in a place needed for a purchase right now, it’s still helpful to connect with a good lender who can help identify opportunities for you to improve your credit and that will result in a better rate down the line.

We hope this resource is helpful to you. If you have questions or want to learn more, please contact our team.







Home Buyers

Starting Your Home Search

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It’s finally starting to look like spring in Central Wisconsin and you’re thinking about moving? Amidst everything that is going on around us, the steps for getting started on your home search are the same, just the method may vary slightly.

So, where do you start?

Whether you are buying your first home or your fourteenth, it’s a good idea to start by connecting with a local expert real estate agent in your area. Connecting with a Realtor early on can help best prepare you for the road ahead. You can start browsing online, but the truth is, if you’re serious about buying, you’ll want to have an agent lined up and a few things in order so you’re ready when that dream home hits the market.

A good agent will take the time to understand what you’re looking for. They can set-up a brief 30-minute buyer consultation to learn more about your goals, what you’re looking for in a home and what’s really important to you in your next move. Right now, that may look like a video conference or an introductory phone call, but the conversation is the exact same.

If you’ve already found your dream home and want to take a look, a Realtor can certainly show you the home.  Chances are, with how quickly the homes are moving in the spring, it’s a good idea to be prepared on the financing side of things, so you are ready to put in an offer when you find that right place.

If you haven’t talked with a lender or loan officer, your real estate agent may have a couple of local partners they can recommend, or if you have a good relationship with a lender already, it’s not a bad idea to start the conversation early on. That way you feel comfortable and confident on what you can afford and what may be outside of your budget.

Many first-time homebuyers are worried about having their credit pulled multiple times if their don’t find a home within 90 days (the timeframe most pre-approval letters are valid, 90 days). If this is a concern of yours, talk to your lender. They may be able to give you a soft-credit pull or pre-qualification letter (instead of pre-approval letter) that estimates what you would be approved for, without requiring a full credit pull.

After you feel confident and comfortable with your monthly payment, looking at houses becomes a lot more enjoyable. You worry less about the cost and focus on what you want in a home within your means.

The fun part begins! Touring homes! From here, you can work alongside your agent to find the best home for you. That may include some virtual tours or in-person tours. You may tour a few before finding the right fit, or your first home may be the one. There isn’t a cookie-cutter recipe for finding the right place, so be patient and choose a Realtor you trust and enjoy working with!

So, if you’re looking this spring, fantastic! Our team would be honored to help you find a place to call home in our Central Wisconsin home! Contact us today to get started!


Home Buyers, Home Selling

How Do Realtors Get Paid?

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An age old question that comes up more often than you may think! How do Realtor’s get paid? It’s really a great question and that’s why I’ve dedicated a full podcast episode to that – listen to it on you favorite podcast app.

Subscribe to our podcast on SpotifyApple Podcast or Google Play. Search: “The Real Wausau Real Estate Show”.

Unlike most careers that have an hourly or salary rate that slowly grows over your tenure, Realtors get paid on commission. Commission in the real estate industry is often a percentage of the gross sale amount that is earned upon the successful closing of a home or land or real property.

For some, this is fantastic because there is no glass ceiling. The harder you work, the more you earn and the less you work, the less you earn. For others, this sort of income can cause anxiety and fear not knowing where the next deal is coming from… and I think that idea can be true in all of us in varying degrees.

Earning a commission-based income requires you to be thoughtful in how you’re saving / planning so you can sustain your business as an agent over your career. It can be exciting when you get that check after a successful closing, but realizing that your next closing is a couple of weeks or a few months out, will help you keep that “spending” mentality in check.

So… how much do Realtors actually make? Well, that depends too. It depends on the sale price of the home, their commission and a few other factors like area & location. In Central Wisconsin, with the homes being reasonably priced and the economic conditions staying pretty stable, I’d say about $40,000 – $60,000 would be a common average for a full-time agent. That may be quite a bit lower for first-year agents just getting in the industry or part-time agents that do a bit of business on the side, but that is just an average – remember that depends on a number of factors.

The location matters too. In larger cities, Realtors may make more per transaction and therefore they may not do as many deals but have a higher gross commission per sale so they are still making a decent wage. I’ve said it before but it really all depends!

If you’re considering the career, check out this podcast episode on what the career is like and how to get started? Maybe commission gets you excited because you like helping others and working in a sales environment.

If you have a chance to check out either podcast, or both, let me know what you think! I’d love to hear your feedback!

Brought to you by Austin Solomon | 715-212-4693 | Coldwell Banker Action




Home Buyers, New Home Construction

New Construction Homes

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New Construction Homes

Thinking about purchasing a new construction home in Central Wisconsin?

There are many new construction communities near you that you may be interested in, but before you jump into visiting homes, it’s a good idea to sit down with a Realtor to discuss what you’re looking for in a new construction home. New home constructions sale representatives are great to work with, but it can be helpful having a real estate agent who is solely representing you and can negotiate and offer experiential advice to help guide you throughout your purchase.

A real estate agent who is familiar with the local market and area builders may be able to offer additional insight based on your needs and wants based on their experience with builders.

There are two common new construction options buyer wills consider. The first is selecting or building a new home in a subdivision built by one primary builder. The second is purchasing a parcel of land and having a custom home builder built your custom dream home.

The first step I’d recommend is talking with your lender on your plans for new construction and talking over the loan programs available. It’s important to start here before getting attached to a particular plan or dream home, as having the funding is the first step.

From here I recommend finding a great local real estate agent near you and a local real estate company that can support you throughout your search and purchase. I often like to sit down with my buyers and have a brief consultation to learn about them and their goals.

From here we can look at what’s on the market that’s new and move-in ready, and what is under construction, including the estimated completion dates. “Spec homes” are a speculative builds the builder creates based on common market trends. They often build a few different varieties to appeal to the majority of consumers. These homes are often slightly cheaper in cost because they don’t have many custom features.

If you find a spec home that you like, that could be the golden ticket for you! If you don’t, your Realtor can help you stay on top of local building schedules for the next one or you can talk through purchasing a lot and your own plan.

Whatever your new construction goals are, our team is here to help those make a reality. Contact The Solomon Group to learn more or set-up a time to talk about your new construction needs.

This resource is brought to you by:

Austin Solomon | Realtor with The Solomon Group – Coldwell Banker Action (715) 212-4693

Home Buyers, Home Selling

Sales Team of the Year 2019

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The Solomon Group Wausau

Austin Solomon, a local D.C. Everest graduate (2015) started his real estate career while attending UW-Marathon County just four years ago (2016). His passion for the real estate industry and entrepreneurship for young professionals has accelerated over the past few years. 

He speaks a few times per year at local high school business classes to educate and encourage the next generation on what it’s like to own a business. As a young professional himself (22 years old, starting at age 18), his message resonates well with future young professionals.

After a few years of individually practicing real estate, Austin started developing and leading a team, The Solomon Group. This past weekend, The Solomon Group was named Sales Team of the Year (2019) at Coldwell Banker Action. This past year, the team helped 260 parties buy or sell, totaling just over 44 million in sales volume, led by Austin Solomon, Realtor & Team Leader.

Solomon shares humbly, a large part of this success can be attributed to his team members, Angie Rhode, Holly Hettinga and Dakota Karlen for working behind the scenes day-in and day-out to provide amazing support for our clients and our team. Our team’s Buyers Agent, Dakota Karlen, who had an amazing first year, earning him the Rookie of the Year Award, a huge honor for first-year agents. 

“To go fast, go alone. To go far, go together.” – Solomon quotes a phrase from Simon Sinek.

The Solomon Group wants to thank our office and the leadership at Coldwell Banker Action for paving the way, the many partners in the industry, friends & family for the support, and the clients who choose to work with us! We are amazed at how many good people we’ve been able to work with and the relationships that have been formed over the years. We are encouraged and convinced Central Wisconsin is one of the top places to call home!